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Z. Josh Huang


Ph.D., Brandeis University, 1994

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(516) 367-8388 (p)
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We study the developmental assembly and functional organization of neural circuits in the cerebral cortex that process information and guide behavior. We combine molecular, anatomical and physiological approaches, with the entry point from a systematic identification of neuronal cell types using genetically engineered mice. Our study has implications in understanding neuropsychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.
Josh Huang and colleagues study the assembly and function of neural circuits in the neocortex of the mouse. The neocortex consists of a constellation of functional areas that form a representational map of the external (sensory, social) and internal (visceral, emotional) world. These areas are strategically interconnected into elaborate information processing networks that guide behavior. The group’s overarching hypothesis is that, at the cellular level, cortical processing streams and output channels are mediated by a large set of distinct glutamatergic pyramidal neuron types, and functional neural ensembles are regulated by a diverse set of GABAergic interneuron types. Understanding cortical circuit organization requires comprehensive knowledge of these basic cellular components. The Huang lab uses state-of-the-art genetic approaches to systematically target cell types and facilitate the application of a full set of modern techniques for exploring cortical circuits. Among GABAergic interneurons, the chandelier cell is one of the most distinctive cell type that controls pyramidal neuron firing at the axon initial segment. Huang and colleagues are studying the developmental specification, activity-dependent circuit integration, and functional connectivity of chandelier cells, an entry point towards understanding a local circuit module. Regarding pyramidal neurons, they are systematically characterizing the developmental origin, axon projection pattern, and input connectivity of multiple classes of pyramidal neuron types, focusing on the forelimb motor cortex. They combine a range of approaches that include genetic and viral engineering, genetic fate mapping, gene expression profiling, cellular imaging, electrophysiology, and behavior analysis. Recently, they begin to integrate their studies in the context of the motor cortex control of forelimb movements.

Lu, J. and Tucciarone, J. and Padilla-Coreano, N. and He, M. and Gordon, J. A. and Huang, Z. J. (2017) Selective inhibitory control of pyramidal neuron ensembles and cortical subnetworks by chandelier cells. Nat Neurosci 20(10) pp. 1377-1383.

Paul, A. and Crow, M. and Raudales, R. and He, M. and Gillis, J. and Huang, Z. J. (2017) Transcriptional Architecture of Synaptic Communication Delineates GABAergic Neuron Identity. Cell

He, M. and Tucciarone, J. and Lee, S. and Nigro, M. J. and Kim, Y. and Levine, J. M. and Kelly, S. M. and Krugikov, I. and Wu, P. and Chen, Y. and Gong, L. and Hou, Y. and Osten, P. and Rudy, B. and Huang, Z. J. (2016) Strategies and Tools for Combinatorial Targeting of GABAergic Neurons in Mouse Cerebral Cortex. Neuron 91(6) pp. 1228-1243.

Taniguchi, H. and Lu, J. and Huang, Z. J. (2013) The spatial and temporal origin of chandelier cells in mouse neocortex. Science 339(6115) pp. 70-4.

Ango, F. and di Cristo, G. and Higashiyama, H. and Bennett, V. and Wu, P. and Huang, Z. J. (2004) Ankyrin-based subcellular gradient of neurofascin, an immunoglobulin family protein, directs GABAergic innervation at purkinje axon initial segment. Cell 119(2) pp. 257-72.

Additional materials of the author at
CSHL Institutional Repository

2015: Special Lecture, Society of Neuroscience Annual Meeting, Chicago

2013: President's Plenary Lecture, American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), Florida

2011-2012: Distinguished Investigator, NARSAD-Brain and Behavior Research Foundation

2007–2017: Simon’s Investigator; Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative

2010: Plenary Lecture, Society of Biological Psychiatry 65th Annual Meeting, New Orleans

2007-2010: Harold & Leila Mathers Foundation Award

2004–2007: McKnight Scholar Award in Neuroscience

2004–2006: EJLB Foundation Award

2002–2005: Pew Scholar Award

2004-2007: March of Dime Birth Defect Foundation Award

2001-2004: Whitehall Foundation Award